American Music Awards: The AMAs Feature 17 Performances

The American Music Awards aired on Sunday, November 20, 2011 on ABC. Created by Dick Clark in 1973, the AMAs are the top music honors, next to the Grammy Awards. Unlike the Grammy Awards, the music industry does not determine the nominees. AMA nominees are selected based on sales, airplay, social media and video voting. Public opinion weighs more heavily on results than what music critics think. This year’s award show was marked by 17 performances, including a large number of collaborations.

The first collaboration occurred at the beginning of the show. Nicki Minaj, along with David Guetta, opened the show with her latest songs, “Turn Me On” and “Super Bass.” She was dressed in a costume that looked like a speaker, she even had a plug to go with it. The best part of the performance was watching Taylor Swift mouth the words to the song. Later, when Nicki Minaj won her first AMA of the night, she thanked Taylor.

Sean Kingston introduced Justin Bieber, who sang a song from his holiday album. Bieber’s performance was one of the few performances by a single artist. It was good to see Kingston after his Jet Ski accident in May. The Band Perry followed Bieber with “If I Die Young.”

Chris Brown returned to the AMAs, performing a medley that started with “I Want it All Back.” It was hard not to read a lot into the lyrics of the song. I don’t think I’m the only person who thought the song was somewhat of an apology to Rihanna and his fans. Then, he sang a more upbeat song. The audience gave him rousing applause. I think, in general, people like seeing someone turning around from a troubled past.

Enrique Iglesias sang “I Like How It Feels,” joined by the Crenshaw High School choir. Rapper Ludacris joined in when he sang “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You).” It was one of the lively performances of the night.

Jennifer gave a high energy performance but I felt like I was watching a commercial at first. Rapper Pitbull gave a small cameo. Her outfit reminded me of what Brittney Spears wore in her video, “Toxic.” The audience was pleased with the performance. Pitbull returned with Jennifer’s ex Mark Anthony and Little John. Mark Anthony sang “Let It Rain over Me.” Jennifer Lopez returned to sing with

LMFAO closed the show with a wild and weird performance that included an appearance by Justin Bieber and David Hasselhoff. The group brought the crowd to their feet, but it was a little chaotic.

The AMAs were not about the awards, even though Taylor Swift had a big night with three awards. She took home the big one, Artist of the Year. Taylor Swift now has a total of 10 AMAs. I think it was overall entertaining, but I wish they would have given out all of the awards. Seems like the award shows have had a hard time finding the right balance the past four years. Happy for Taylor Swift, though.

List of winners:

Favorite Pop-Rock Band/Duo/Group


Maroon 5 (winner)

One Republic

Favorite Country Female Artist

Sara Evans

Miranda Lambert

Taylor Swift (winner)

Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist

Lit’ Wayne

Nicki Minaj

Kanye West

Favorite Soul/R&B Album

Beyonce – “4”

Chris Brown – “F.A.M.E.”

Rihanna – “Loud” (winner)

Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group

The Band Perry

Zac Brown Band

Lady Antebellum (winner)

Favorite Rap/ Hip-Hop Album

Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Watch The Throne”
Lil’ Wayne – “Tha Carter IV”
Nicki Minaj – “Pink Friday” (winner)

Special AMA Award – First Woman to Have Five Number One Singles from One Album

Katy Perry

Sprint New Artist of the Year

Hot Chelle Rae (winner)

The Band Perry


Wiz Khalifa

Favorite Latin Music Artist

Enrique Iglesias

Jennifer Lopez (winner)


Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist

Beyonce (winner)


Kelly Rowland

Favorite Pop-Rock Male Artist

Justin Bieber

Bruno Mars (winner)


Favorite Country Album

Jason Aldean – “My Kinda Party”

The Band Perry – “The Band Perry”

Taylor Swift – “Speak Now” (winner)

Favorite Pop-Rock Album

Adele – “21” (winner)

Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

Rihanna – “Loud”

Artist of the Year


Lady Gaga

Lil’ Wayne

Katy Perry

Taylor Swift (winner)


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